Sunday, August 17, 2008

Govt ready to shelter civilians fleeing Wanni battle

As fighting intensifies and the security forces move forward in the Wanni to capture the LTTE’s heartland, the government said it was fully geared to provide facilities for an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 civilians trapped in uncleared areas.

Despite food and medicine going into the hands of the LTTE, the government will continue to supply essential food items for civilians in the Wanni.

Government Agents of Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar have been instructed by the Senior Advisor MP Basil Rajapaksa and Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe to prepare an assessment to expedite the humanitarian assistance for those who flee uncleared areas.

Over 12,000 civilians who fled uncleared areas during the past two months have been provided with all basic facilities.

The Wanni Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasooriya said that arrangements had been made to provide facilities for civilians fleeing uncleared areas and the sites to set up new IDP centres had been already earmarked.

“We have instructed the GAs to inform civilians that the security forces are moving into the Wanni and asked them to abandon the uncleared areas as facilities have been arranged to welcome them”, he said.

He said that there would not be a food crisis in the Wanni as the government sent all essential food items through GAs, NGOs and INGOs.

“The GAs have confirmed that there is no scarcity of food whatsoever in these areas”, he said.

Maj. Gen. Jayasooriya said that civilians who come to government controlled areas would initially be sheltered in schools and religious places while they would be provided all basic facilities and housed in IDP centres to be set up soon. “We have facilities to accommodate all new IDPs”, he said.

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